War In The Walbran

Black bear in the Upper Walbran Valley stand to lose more old growth habitat if Teal Jones has its way.
Photo: TJ Watt, Ancient Forest Alliance

For Immediate Release - June 8, 2015

Wilderness Committee Discovers Logging Maps for Walbran
War in the Woods could return as logging company targets Walbran Valley

by Wilderness Committee

Some of Canada's most ecologically significant old-growth cedar threatened by Teal Jones

VICTORIA – One of Canada's most important old-growth rainforests is under direct threat of clearcut logging. New maps obtained by the Wilderness Committee show logging company Teal Jones has laid out eight new cutblocks in the central Walbran Valley on Vancouver Island, a focal point of the War in the Woods for decades.

In recent years, Teal Jones' logging operations have been targeting old-growth and edging closer to the iconic Castle Grove, the finest stand of monumental cedar trees in the Walbran Valley. The new proposed cutblocks surround Castle Grove in an unprotected area on the north side of the Walbran River, near the boundary of Carmanah-Walbran Provincial Park.

"Intact old-growth forests of this size are incredibly rare and endangered – so much has been cut, and we have a moral responsibility to protect the little that's left," said Torrance Coste, Vancouver Island Campaigner with the Wilderness Committee.

"The north side of the Walbran River should be completely off-limits to industrial logging.
This area has been ground zero for the War in the Woods in the past, and that's exactly the level of conflict Teal Jones is choosing by moving into this area now," Coste added.

The Wilderness Committee contacted Teal Jones last fall, after finding new surveying tape in the Walbran Valley. The environmental group highlighted the importance and scarcity of old-growth forests of this type, and asked Teal Jones to shift its operations into less contentious areas elsewhere in its large forest tenure (TFL 46).

"Teal Jones disregarded our request and set its proposed cutblocks in the worst possible locations," Coste explained.

"This company has proven it cares about nothing but its profits. It's time for the provincial government to step in before Teal Jones does more damage in the Walbran Valley."

Intact old-growth forests provide habitat for endangered species, act as a storage sink for climate-changing carbon and possess irreplaceable cultural and recreational values. These values far surpass the forests' value as wood products.

The central Walbran Valley is in unceded Nuu-chah-nulth territories. The Wilderness Committee is calling for a solution that protects the extremely rare old-growth ecosystems and ensures First Nations' access to traditional resources.

For more information, contact:

Torrance Coste | Vancouver Island Campaigner, Wilderness Committee
(250) 516-9900, [torrance@wildernesscommittee.org]

Additional resources:

Central Walbran Valley map showing proposed logging - June 2015 [https://www.wildernesscommittee.org/sites/all/files/CentralWalbran_Map_June2015_0.pdf]

Walbran Valley photos from unprotected areas [https://www.wildernesscommittee.org/victoria/walbran_valley_photos_2015]

Old-growth logging photos from Walbran Valley - March 2013 [https://www.wildernesscommittee.org/victoria/walbran_valley_old_growth_logging_photos_march_2013]

The Wilderness Committee is Canada's largest membership-based, citizen-funded wilderness preservation organization. We work for the preservation of Canadian and international wilderness through research and grassroots education. The Wilderness Committee works on the ground to achieve ecologically sustainable communities.